Lack of pitching depth hurts Generals
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The Generals are still playing shorthanded, missing a few players who have yet to join the team.
Victoria, like the rest of the Texas Collegiate League, has yet to have a full roster report because some college teams have yet to complete their seasons.
But it has affected the team's depth, particularly with pitching. Generals coach Chris Clemons said he sat down before the season and came up with a plan for the limited pitching he had to open the season.
"I wanted two guys to throw each game, and first two nights it went well," he said. "The two guys I scheduled for those nights have gone the distance, and I don't want to push any body too far with the pitch count."
The lineup, though, hasn't been as effected by being shorthanded.
"We got our group of 10 guys, and they are going out and competing," he said. "Once everyone reports, we'll have five to six starters and the rest will be in our bullpen. There is some talent coming, and there is talent here. We just have to mix and match, there will be more nights off for guys and have a little reassurance."
The lack of pitchers came back to haunt the Generals Thursday night as the East Texas Pump Jacks routed Victoria 11-4, getting to starter John Kordsmeier and abusing relievers John Gilligan and Blake Payne.
East Texas notched four unearned runs in the fifth inning after Kordsmeier, who Clemons said is normally a reliever, pitched four spotless innings. The Pump Jacks took advantage of spotty control on the mound that resulted in several wild pitches and passed balls, and a key error at first that extended the inning.
"Our first two guys are guys that hadn't thrown long innings," Clemons said. "They're used to being two or three inning guys, they really stepped up for us and did what they needed to do."
Walks were an issue, too. Generals pitching combined for a total of seven walks total, five by starter Kordsmeier.
The Generals struggled against Pump Jacks starter Jordan Nicholson through the first four innings, but broke through by getting two runs off him on a double steal by Michael Niemann and Taylor Terrasas and a single by Brendan McGaheran. It wasn't the only double steal of inning, as McGaheran and Andy Russell, who finished the game 2-for-3, also stole second and third later on.
"I was just waiting for a pitch that I could get a good jump on," Terrasas said of the double steal. "You've got to force the issue sometimes."
Clemons said the team is built to run on the bases, and took advantage of the opponents unfamiliarity with the base runners and themselves.
"Early on, when guys haven't played together much, it's hard to hold second base," Clemons said. "We had some runners that are good baseball players, and they just picked up on timing. They were all on green lights for stolen bases, so if they got a good jump they could go on their own."
But the offense was too little as the Pump Jacks added another run in the sixth and another three off in the seventh.
But depth was a key issue.
"That kind of burned us a little bit," Niemann said. "I think coach said we have more guys coming in. . It didn't hurt us position player-wise, but pitcher-wise, six pitchers is definitely not enough for a three game stretch."
Help is on the way for the Generals, who will have more players reporting throughout next week. Another pitcher, a starter, will hopefully be arriving Saturday before the Generals next game against the Tomcats, and more will be arriving next week.
"We've got a group coming in Monday before we go on the road, then a group coming in when we get back," Clemons said. "By the time we get back from the road, we should have a full team here."
Pump Jacks 11, Generals 5
ET 000 041 330 - 11 11 2
VIC 000 020 210 - 5 8 3
Jordan Nicholson, Andy Steinmetz (6) and Jarid Scarafiotti; John Kordsmeier, John Gilligan (5) Blake Payne (8) and Kyle Arnsberg. WP-Nicholson, LP-Kordsmeier. Highlights: (VIC) Michael Niemann 2-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB; Taylor Terrasas 1-for-2, 2 BB, reached on error, 2 R, SB; Andy Russell 2-for-4, RBI, 2 SB; (ET) Blake Ellender 3-for-4, 3 R, BB, SB. Records: Generals 2-1.